Readers’ wildlife photos

April 19, 2015 • 7:45 am

We have a paucity of photos because I’m depending on what readers send me on the road, but reader Randy in Iowa did come through with four photos of things avian:

The first photo of a nest is most likely a swallow’s nest but until I can see the builder, it is just a guess.   There are several items used including a lot of moss — still green as this nest is new.  A very odd location I thought, because it is under a door entrance and less than 7 feet high.  I hope it gets used but have doubts that it will.
17 April 2015 005
Woodpeckers are always plentiful around here and this photo includes the Red-bellied Woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) and the Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus).  I sometimes wonder if the name Red-bellied was used because Red Headed was already taken.  Some people around here identify the Hairy Woodpecker as the Ladder-backed or the Nuttall’s Woodpecker but I think not.  Those do not live in this part of the country.
18 April 2015  Birds 008
The suet feeder is good for many birds and the woodpeckers really like them.  The female Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens). 
18 Apr. 15  Birds 003
The mesh feeder like this one is good to hold Nyjer Thistle seed and is a favorite of finches.  Male Goldfinches (Spinus tristis):
18 Apr. 15  Birds 007

10 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Very nice photos. I can often hear woodpeckers in my neighborhood, from high up in a tree, but have rarely actually seen them.

    1. We have a starling problem from time to time but it does not stop the woodpeckers. I do take the suet in at night because of Raccoon. They will destroy feeders or drag them off.

  2. I also have a woodpecker near by – almost certainly a Great Spotted (UK) – and I have seen its extraordinary creeping action as it looks for food. It also has a weird bobbing flight as it leaves the tree and heads out over the urban landscape.

    At the moment I hear it every morning hammering on the bark

    1. I have a mix CD that includes some Afro-Cuban All Stars. When I played it the other day and it got to some rapid bongos my resident woodpecker flew over and started to compete using the tin roof of my woodshed.
      At first I thought it was a fluke so I played the tune again an hour later with the same result. It’s that time of year when someone thought Cuban drums might be more attractive to the ladies.

    2. I recently discovered a red breasted sapsucker (Sphyrapicus ruber) on my property. I watched it excavate its home in a nearby snag. It was finished within a day.

      Neat birds. There are a few different species locally, all having different drum-beats. Some are slow enough as to be able to discern individual taps while others are irregular and scaling (like S. ruber).


  3. I think swallows like more mud. This is more likely a phoebe. We had one that insisted on building her nest above our front door and so would freak whenever we came or went. We finally took to using the back door until her young’uns fledged.

    1. We have swallows (maybe not the same species here) that also use mud to build a nest in our chimney. Adorable creatures. They sometimes get past the insulation that I use to block the chimney and get into the fireplace.

  4. Yes, I’d say that is an Eastern Phoebe nest. And the Picoides woodpecker is more likely a downy than a hairy, since I see black spots in the outer tail feathers, which downy has but hairy lack.

    1. And the Hairy is much closer to the Red-bellied in size.

      A third vote for Eastern Phoebe as the nester here, one of my favorite birds. What a cool nest you found! They love to use man-made structures for nesting. A few years ago they set up shop in a similar place to your nest, Randy, just inside the door to a garden shed, one I had to stoop to enter.

      That year they raised a cowbird.

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